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Science, Music, and "Other" Lessons, Ideas, Activities, and Resources for the Trial and Crucifixion.

Post your Sunday School science, music, and "other" lessons, ideas, activities, and resources for the Trial and Crucifixion.

  • Please include a scripture reference, supply lists, sources, suggested age range. age modification, etc. 
  • Photos are much appreciated!  Click "attachments" and upload to your post.
  • Please be careful not to post copyrighted materials. Excerpting and paraphrasing is okay. Include attribution.


Including: Cross, Jesus, Caiaphas, Pilate, Scourging, Nails, Centurion, Golgotha, Place of the Skull, Calvary, and related. Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22; John 18, etc.

Bible lessons for the Trial and Crucifixion -with science experiments, demonstrations, object lessons, magic tricks, presentations, Music, teaching with songs, Bible songs, Bible instruments, etc.

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Cross Photography Project

Our children went around our church, taking photos of every cross they could find.

We separated into groups, and gave each group a digital camera with instructions for each person to share in taking pictures.

The kids were encouraged to have great eyes for finding "hidden" crosses! They even used their bodies to create crosses, just so they could be in the photos.

Afterwards, I uploaded all the photos, and sorted out the best (the duplicates and the blurry ones!). We printed them and posted them on a large piece of foam board, cut into the shape of a cross. (When finished, it was used by our Pastor for one of his lenten sermons, and then placed on display.)

The youth were very excited to see the final creation, and the congregation was amazed at how many crosses were found throughout our church. The cross is now on the art room wall for all to see.

As the cross was an instrument of both suffering and salvation, their various types of crosses seen or made then photographed, --were the basis for conversation, points and questions.

Moderator notes: The below idea came up when the Writing Team and board were discussing possible ideas for the Emmaus set.  I've moved it here to consolidate posts.


 "What about a CROSS "Photography" WALK

It could be a walk around the church building, campus or neighborhood.  Disposable cameras or teachers cell phones could be used to photograph CROSSES pointed out by the children. 

The object is to "see" crosses made by everyday objects such as a telephone poles, window sashes, architecture, etc. 

Life Application
These crosses are always around us and with us, we just don't see them unless we are pursuing them and looking for them.   Are we walking toward Jesus, looking for Jesus and pursuing Him?  We need to make an effort.
Last edited by Luanne Payne

Easter – Trial and Crucifixion

Music and Movement Workshop

State Street UMC G.R.E.A.T. Adventure

Summary of Lesson Activities:
Children will respond to the story through music and movement activities.

Scripture References:

John 18-19 (paraphrased below)

Leader Preparation:

  • Review the Bible Background and lesson materials.
  • Gather necessary supplies.
  • Preview the music.

Materials List:

  • CD of Recorded Music
    • “John 3:16” Scripture Rock, Brentwood Kids Company, Brentwood Music Inc. Provident Music Distribution, 741 Cool Springs Blvd., Franklin, TN 37067
    • ”Can’t Keep a Good Man Down” Newsong, 1999 Benson Records, Inc. Provident Music Distribution, 741 Cool Springs Blvd., Franklin, TN 37067
    • “Arise My Love,” Newsong, 1999 Benson Records, Inc. Provident Music Distribution, 741 Cool Springs Blvd., Franklin, TN 37067
    • “Above All” Michael W. Smith Worship, 2001 Reunion Records, Inc. Provident Music Distribution, 741 Cool Springs Blvd., Franklin, TN 37067
  • Overhead transparencies of lyrics
  • Overhead projector
  • Tone chimes
  • 24” strip of Velcro
  • 6 pieces of black poster board (to create sound and impression of thunder made when Jesus died)
  • Small 4” X 4” blocks of wood
  • Hammers
  • Strobe light
  • Tomb scenery – made from cardboard and painted during a previous rotation

Guidelines for Music and Movement Workshop Leaders:
Music is one of the best aids to memory. The use of music utilizes additional pathways in the brain that facilitate learning and retention. The musical selections have been chosen to coordinate with the lessons. Urge the children to find the connections in the lyrics and the style of the music. 5-6 graders are at a very self-conscious stage and may feel that some songs are too unsophisticated for them. Encourage them to participate by modeling participation yourself. Encourage the shepherds to participate as well. Try to find ways to take the spotlight off individual children. Give them microphones, rhythm instruments, costumes, etc. to help them “get into the spirit.” Younger children will respond better when physically involved, so include props, rhythm instruments, etc. to involve their entire bodies in the experience.

Time Guidelines:

  • Introductions/Opening Prayer: 10 minutes
  • John 3:16 Song: 10 minutes
  • Bible Study: 20 minutes
  • Music Activities: 15 minutes
  • Reflection/Closing Prayer: 5 minutes

Note: The account of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion will be paraphrased with an activity described below. This will be the Bible Study portion of the lesson.

Lesson Plan

Gather the children together in the chairs with their Bibles. Welcome the children and introduce yourself. Make sure you are wearing your name tag and that the children have picked up their nametags from Fast Pass. Always begin each class with introductions. Remember that workshop leaders rotate often, and the children may not know you. Tell the children that today they will be learning that Jesus is the true Christ, the Son of God, with authority over death.

Opening Prayer: Pray something like this: Dear God, Thank you for bringing us all here together. We thank you for the stories in the Bible that teach us about you. Help us to learn and understand more about you and your love for us. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.


Activity #1: “Memory Verse in Song”
Set: Do you believe in miracles? (A miracle is an extraordinary or supernatural event that supersedes the natural processes of the world.) Many people who heard of the miracle of Jesus arising from the tomb believed in Him and His promise of everlasting life. Our memory verse for this rotation sums up this promise.

  1. Listen to the CD song, “John 3:16.”
    *note that the song version is slightly different than the version in the children’s Bibles. Use the song version and explain that the meaning is the same.
  2. Have the children listen to this once as they follow the words on the overhead.
  3. Allow the children to sing through the song to learn the memory verse.

Ask the children where in their Bibles they would find stories about Jesus? (New Testament – gospels). Can they name the four gospels? (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). Say: Today’s story and our memory verse are found in all four gospels. We are going to study this story from the gospel of John.

Bible Study:

Adventure Bible for Young Readers - John 18-19, Little Kids’ Adventure Bible: Jesus is Arrested, Jesus Goes before Pilate, Jesus is Buried (pages 348-355)

Important Notes:
**Remember, that as the rotation progresses, the children will become more familiar with the story. When this happens, allow the children to tell you what they know. The children should still locate the story in their Bibles every week. Use the bold headings in their Bibles to guide your discussion. You may want to review some of the Bible notes as well. Then you can fill in any missing information and add additional details using the Background Information to help you. One of greatest advantages of this model is that children who come regularly learn the story in great depth.

Introduce the story: Gather the children in the center of the room with their Bibles and seated in chairs. Have them spread out so there is ample space between them to allow for the movements described in the activity below. Because the scripture passage is so long, use the paraphrased version below to tell the story. Have the children locate the beginning of the story and the various headings as you come to them. Read the Bible notes as described.. They will also pantomime and create sound effects as described below. Allow them to add their own creative movements or sounds to the story as well. Pause to discuss and answer questions throughout the narration if needed.

Ask: Where in the Bible do we find stories of Jesus? (New Testament – gospels) What are the four gospels? (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)

Activity #2: “The Gospel John’s Account”
Set: Have you ever heard different people tell about the same event? Did each person give the exact same account? How did each story vary?
Say: Each gospel tells the story of Jesus’ crucifixion in a slightly different manner. Today we will hear it from the point of view of John’s gospel. This gospel focuses on Jesus’ love and shares a very personal glimpse of Jesus’ ordeal. John writes so that people will believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Whatever John can do to get people to believe with their hearts is the message that comes through.

Bible Story:
Jesus had eaten the Passover meal with his disciples. He had shared the “Last Supper” with them. Then they went to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus wanted to pray. He knew his time on earth was almost done. It was late at night. Jesus had been praying in the garden for many hours. His disciples had all fallen asleep, even though Jesus asked them to stay awake and pray with him.

Suddenly, the chief priest’s soldiers came looking for Jesus. They were holding torches, lanterns, and weapons.

The disciples woke up now! Peter tried to defend Jesus. He took his sword and cut off the ear of one of the servants.


Jesus healed the man and told Peter not to fight.
The commander and Jewish officials had their soldiers arrest Jesus and tie him up.


So, Jesus is arrested by the guards of the Sanhedrin, the religious rulers, and taken to the house of the high priest, Caiaphas. There the Sanhedrin is waiting to put Jesus on trial. What was the Sanhedrin?

Have the children locate the Did You Know Note in their Bible: What was the Sanhedrin? (Page 348 Little Kids’ Adventure Bible and page 1159 in Adventure Bible for Young Readers). Read and discuss it together.

The Sanhedrin was a very powerful Jewish court. They didn’t like Jesus and what he had been teaching. They were more interested in following the rules that they made up, rather than really doing what God wanted. The Sanhedrin was very powerful, but the Romans were really in charge. As long as the Sanhedrin kept things peaceful and quiet, the Romans let them do their own thing. Caiaphas was the high priest and the highest ruler of the Sanhedrin. He was afraid that Jesus was getting people too riled up – all this talk about new Kings and all. Maybe the people would even riot. If that happened, the Romans would take over and take away the Sanhedrin’s power. Caiaphas thought it would be better for Jesus to die, since he was just one man. Then everything would get back to normal.

(Teacher Note: The Sanhedrin was the Jewish ruling council during New Testament times. Technically, Israel was under Roman rule, but the Sanhedrin ruled in religious matters. This group of seventy-one men consisted of chief priests and scribes, Pharisees and Saducees. They were a powerful group. They made laws, had their own police force and could arrest people and send them to jail. They were obviously threatened by Jesus and his message and were violently opposed to him.)

Now the Sanhedrin was known throughout the world for their just laws. But this night, they broke many of their own laws! (Refer to Background Information for the list of broken laws.)

The high priests, questioned Jesus about who he truly is. He said, “I’ve been teaching out in the open and in the synagogues and in the Temple. Why are you asking me these questions now?? (Remember they weren’t supposed to hold trials at night) This made the Sanhedrin mad, so they hit Jesus and were more determined to find a way to kill him.

Caiaphas commanded Jesus to respond to the charges. “Are you the Christ, the Son of God?”
Jesus replied, “I AM... and soon you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the God..” This outraged the high priests because Jesus was saying he was God’s Son, that he was equal with God. This went against all their laws. Anyone who claimed to be God was sentenced to death! Then the soldiers spit on Jesus, hit and slapped him. The guards took him away and beat him.

The next morning, the priests took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. The Sanhedrin could arrest people and punish them, but only the Roman governor could sentence someone to be killed. They wanted Pilate to kill Jesus.

Have the children locate and read the People in Bible Times note: "Pontius Pilate" (Grades 1-2: page 351, Grades 3-6: page 1160)

Pilate asked, “Why do you bring him here?”
“He’s a criminal,” they said, “He says he is a King.”
Now Pilate didn’t want to get involved with this. He wanted the Sanhedrin to deal with Jesus according to its own laws. But remember, the Sanhedrin could not order anyone to be put to death. They needed the Roman governor to do that. They kept on and on, accusing Jesus of many different things. Jesus just stood there quietly. Pilate wondered why Jesus didn’t say anything to his accusers. Finally, Pilate asked Jesus if he was the King of the Jews. Jesus answered, “My kingdom is from another place. I am a king. For this reason I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

Pilate thought Jesus hadn’t done anything wrong and wanted to let him go. There was a tradition…. during the Passover festival, the Romans would release one Jewish prisoner. Pilate asked the Jewish rulers if they wanted Jesus to be released. “No, let Barabbas go,” they shouted. Barabbas was a known criminal who had taken part in a rebellion.


Pilate sent Jesus and had him flogged with a cat-of-nine-tails. These were terrible whips with bits of metal and bone in the leather. The beatings hurt and made the prisoner bleed badly. Soldiers also put a crown of thorns and a purple robe on Jesus. They struck him in the face saying, “Hail, king of the Jews.”


Pilate was afraid to harm Jesus. But the Jews insisted that he must die because he claimed to be the Son of God.

Pilate sat Jesus before them and asked, “Shall I crucify your king?”
“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests responded. Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.


Jesus was taken to Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, and there he was crucified between two robbers. Pilate had a sign prepared and fastened to the cross in three languages (Aramaic, Latin and Greek). It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews.” It was 9:00 a.m.

When the soldiers crucified him, they took his seamless robe that was woven in one piece from top to bottom, and cast lots over it.

At noon, darkness fell over the land and lasted for three hours. It was 3:00 p.m. Just at 3:00 p.m. the high priest blew the shofar (ram’s horn) to announce the daily sacrifice of a lamb which took place at exactly that time.

(HAVE ONE CHILD SPIT-BLOW INTO A TUBE FOR THE SOUND OF A HORN – or borrow Pastor Fred’s real shofar – but be careful, it is VERY expensive)

At this moment, other amazing things happened:
1. The curtain in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom.


The Temple curtain was immense – 15 feet high and very thick and heavy. It separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple. Only the high priest was allowed inside this space and he could only enter if he brought with him the blood of an animal sacrifice. This physical boundary was now gone. Jesus opened the way for all to have access to God’s grace.

2. The earth shook, rocks split and tombs opened.


3. Lightning filled the sky.


4. A Roman commander confessed belief in Jesus.

It was Friday. The Sabbath began at sundown, just a few hours away. Once the Sabbath began, the Jews couldn’t do any work. Crucifixions were ugly and offensive, especially at such a religious time (remember it’s Passover – the biggest Jewish festival). So the Jews asked Pilate to break the legs of the prisoners, which made them die faster. The criminals used the little wooden blocks to push up on so that they could breathe. If their legs were broken, they couldn’t push up anymore, so then quickly died. (see Background information if older children have more questions about this) This way the bodies could be removed before the Sabbath. The legs of the other two prisoners were broken, but Jesus was already dead. A Roman soldier stuck his spear into Jesus’ side. Water and blood flowed out so they knew he was dead.

Joseph of Arimathea, who was secretly a disciple of Jesus, asked Pilate for his body. He and Nicodemus took Jesus’ body, wrapped it with 75 pounds of spices, aloes, and strips of linen, and laid him in Joseph’s family tomb. Jesus was dead and buried. All the disciples and Jesus’ followers were devastated…

But we know the story does not end there. Three days later the greatest miracle of all happened which proved beyond a doubt that Jesus is the true Son of God! What happened? (Jesus was raised from the dead!)


Activity #3 – Arise, My Love!
Display the lyrics to the song on the overhead projector.
This is a very powerful song! It tells the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. The song has very powerful visual images and emotion. It almost will feel as if you were there…

(Dress children in robes. Video-tape final run-through!)

"Not a word...."
(children dressed in robes crouch in front of closed tomb.)
"Just shuffling..."
(2 children dressed as guards shuffle back and forth, hear sand-paper shuffling, or rub paper on floor.)
"One day..."
(Low tone chimes toll from now until CHORUS)
"Could it be..."

"Could it be...”

(Children arise, look around in awe and wonder, praising! Singing!)

"The earth..."
(several children shake poster boards- thunder, shake tomb)
"And like..."
(add strobe light, move the stone from the tomb entrance.)
"And as ..."
(guards freeze, can’t move.)
"As the power..."

"Then suddenly..."
(1 child plays the tree chimes, gently)
"Riding wings..."

(Child dressed as Jesus draped with linen cloth rises from table at open tomb. Walks out. Children sing and praise.)


(These are just suggestions. Feel free to add or delete ideas as needed.)

Additional Music Activities:
As time permits, the next few songs can be sung or used with movement to celebrate the glorious resurrection of Jesus. Put the words on the overhead projector and review them with the children.

  • “Can’t Keep a Good Man Down”
    Display the lyrics to the song on the overhead projector. Have the children pantomime the verses as they sing the song. They can even pound the wood with hammers on the words about “nailed Him to the cross”
  • “Above All”
    Display the lyrics to the song on the overhead projector. Have the children listen, sing, move to the music, etc.


“Above All”
Play this song during Journal Reflection time. This song describes what Jesus did for all of us. Equal with God, present at the beginning of time and creation, Jesus was willing to let all of that go, to become human and suffer and die, because he loved us so much. Listen quietly to the song together. Then have the children reflect on it and write in their journals.

Journal Questions:
1-2 Grade: Draw a picture that shows some of the things the song says about Jesus.
3-6 Grade: Who is above all in this song? Who was Jesus willing to put “above all” when he died on the cross?

Discussion Questions:
For questions, refer to the Background Information and the section "Meaning of the Cross - FAQs".

Extra Activity:
If you still have extra time, review the memory verse by writing it out on the blackboard. Review the verse with the children, then one by one, erase the words until the children can recite the verse entirely from memory. Don’t forget the scripture reference! OR play the John 3:16 song again and sing it together to review the memory verse.
Gather the children together in the center of the room. Review with them one word or concept that they learned in the lesson today. (Love, salvation, faith, power, Resurrection, are all possibilities) Encourage the children to come back next week and bring their Bibles. Remind them to share the love of Jesus with others by bringing a friend to Sunday school, especially a friend who doesn’t have a church. Ask for prayer requests and pray together. You may ask one of the children to say the closing prayer, or you may pray something like this, Dear God, thank you for the great compassion with which you shower each of our lives. Help us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus to help others in pain or distress. Help our hearts keep the faith necessary to know that all things possible with God. Amen.

Release children only to parents or by prior arrangement with parents.


A lesson written by Jaymie Derdenfrom: State Street UMC
Bristol, VA 

This lesson created and copyrighted by State Street UMC, Bristol, VA, 2003. Permission granted for non-commercial, local church use, provided credit is give to the source 

A representative of reformatted this post to improve readability.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

In 2018, "Mercy Me," the super-popular Christian Contemporary rock band, released another hit, this one titled "Best News Ever." It's a song about the cross and salvation. It addresses the misguided idea that God still keeps score and we need to earn our salvation (or be afraid it will be taken away). 

"It's not good news, it's the best news ever" is a great memory hook.

Here's their official music video on YouTube:

"Luanne inserts: I got an error message (video not available in your country - Canada) so could not view. But, I was able to view it on their Facebook at

I also found another YouTube lyric video by Inspire Christian Music for MercyMe's Best News Ever, that is nicely done (see below) found at"

Here's an excerpt of their lyrics.

What if I were the one to tell you
That the fight's already been won
Well, I think your day's about to get better
What if I were the one to tell you
That the work's already been done
It's not good news
It's the best news ever
Some say, "Don't ask for help"
God helps the ones who help themselves
Press on, get it right
Otherwise, get left behind
Some say, "He's keeping score"
So try hard, then try and lean on God
Hold up, if this weren't true
Explain to me, what the cross is for??
What do these lyrics mean?

What's the "work" that's already been done?   Healing the breach between God and us created by our sins.
What is it that "they" are selling?  (Salvation by good works. Earning God's Grace.)
Does Jesus "leave anyone behind" or go out after the last lost sheep?
How can a person's life, faith, beliefs, be weary and burdened or "nothing left"?


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Last edited by Luanne Payne

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